Amid concerns of protein shortages in response to the increasing demand for food caused by global population growth, the Japanese livestock industry faces a variety of challenges, including securing human resources, training successors for animal breeders, improving the working environment, and livestock diseases.
As one of Japan’s biggest suppliers of protein with a focus on meat, we believe that making the Japanese livestock industry sustainable is a social responsibility of the NH Foods Group, and we will continue to contribute to the development of new technologies and human resources.
Smart Pig Farming System PIG LABO
As Japan’s population shrinks, personnel shortages are becoming more severe in the livestock industry. Pig rearing in particular consists of many tasks that require experience, so the passing down of skills has become a pressing concern.
Therefore, the NH Foods Group and the NTT DATA Group have conducted the joint development of PIG LABO, a pig rearing support system that utilizes AI and IoT technology. It uses cameras and sensors placed in pig houses to monitor a variety of data related to pig rearing and it can also make assessments regarding aspects such as piglet health and estrus in sow.
In the future, in addition to installing the system on the Group’s pig farms, we will also deploy the system outside the Group, with the aim of solving problems in Japan’s pig farms and the livestock industry as a whole.
Fostering the Next Generation of Human Resources
In December 2017, our Group concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement with Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine to foster the next generation of human resources and promote the livestock industry, and in 2018, we began hands-on training and lectures at the university for the university’s students and instructors.
Through training that includes on-site experience in animal health management, disease prevention, and food sanitation, this program provides the young people who represent the future of the livestock industry with knowledge they cannot get from university classes. It is also contributing to training the next generation of human resources and promoting the livestock industry by fostering livestock raising practitioners who can work internationally, providing more practical education programs for students, and sharing information that will help people apply the results of research in society.
Development and Sale of Foot and Mouth Disease Antigen Detection Kits
The outbreak and spread of livestock diseases is one of the various factors threatening the stable supply of meat, and it is important to establish an early epidemic prevention system in order to minimize the damage in the event of an emergency.
With a research grant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in fiscal 2011 the NH Foods Ltd. Research and Development Center began research into the development and practical application of a foot and mouth disease antigen detection kit in collaboration with the National Agricultural and Food Research Organization’s National Institute of Animal Health, with the aim of developing a kit that could allow for quick and easy testing at livestock production sites.
In December 2019, we launched NH Immunostic Foot and Mouth Disease, the first foot and mouth disease antigen detection kit in Japan. In fiscal 2020, we received the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Private Sector Research and Development Achievement Award in recognition of the fact that the kit can be easily brought to the field and contributes significantly to the initial prevention of foot and mouth disease.
Through the supply of these testing kits, we contribute to the promotion of the livestock industry and the stable supply of meat by preventing the outbreak and spread of livestock diseases.